A Case of the Grumbles

Under my breath I’ve found myself muttering “Grumble, grumble.” Sometimes I don’t actually mutter, but I’m grumbling nevertheless.

I grumble against other people, especially the sheep of the flock I’ve been called to tend. The apostle James makes it clear I shouldn’t be doing this. “Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged.” (James 5:9) O…..K, that sounds serious to me!

But I fear my grumbling is not just against the sheep of God’s pasture I serve but also against the Good Shepherd I serve. When I complain about the lack of results I see, the problems I have to deal with, and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that are before me in ministry, am I not really directing much of this against God?

It’s important for me to be reminded just how serious an offense it is to grumble against God. Such a reminder comes from the account of the Israelites in the wilderness and what God said to them. “In this desert your bodies will fall – every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.” (Numbers 14:29) The psalmist wrote of this that “they grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord.” (Psalm 106:25) Substitute “parsonage” or “pastor’s house” for “tents” in this last passage to drive home the application.

I’ll confess I don’t always see grumbling as a serious issue. I should; it’s quite clear in scripture that grumbling is a sin. I suppose, as far as sins go, I see it as a “white collar” type of crime, but a crime is still a crime; a sin is still a sin.

When I give some thought as to why grumbling against God is wrong, is sin, is serious sin, I come to the conclusion that in grumbling I question God’s goodness. I’m strongly hinting that He is not playing fair with me.

So, OK, grumbling is serious sinning, but I also know that the psalmists were often brutally honest in expressing their feelings to God; that’s why I enjoy reading the psalms so much. An honest pouring out of the heart to God is good, this is what I counsel my hurting parishioners to do, and I do it myself. What I’m realizing is that I need to ask for the Lord’s help in discerning between honest-to-God praying and grumbling.

The bottom line is that this grumbling needs to go! I must take the apostle Paul’s admonition to the Philippians to heart when it comes to the work of my ministry. “Do everything without grumbling…” (Philippians 2:14)

2 Responses to A Case of the Grumbles

  1. jimmmyjams says:

    Complaining is a constant temptation. It has become a national sport.

    I’ve found that the weather is an interesting metaphor for God’s sovereignty–you can’t change it, it unfolds in its own time and we love to complain against His plan just like we complain against the weather. Here are some thoughts I had recently on this idea. I hope this is okay. I think it’s relevant. 🙂



  2. djclaassen says:

    Great video! Liked it so much I’ve embedded it on my blog! Dave

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